Julia Kristeva is a true polymath, an intellectual of astonishingly wide range whose erudition and insight have been brought to bear on psychoanalysis, literary criticism, gender and sex, and cultural critique. Passions of Our Time showcases recent essays of Kristeva’s that demonstrate the scope of her capacious intellect, her gifts as a stylist, and the profound contribution of her thought to the challenges of the present.
The collection begins with ? vivid recollection of celebrating, as a child in Bulgaria, Alphabet Day, the holiday honoring the Cyrillic letters, that proceeds outward into a contemplation of the writer as translator. Kristeva considers literature with Barthes, freedom through Rousseau, Teresa of Avila and mystical experience, Simone de Beauvoir’s dream life, and Antigone and the psychic life of women. A group of essays drawing on her psychoanalytic work delve into Freud, Lacan, maternal eroticism, and the continued importance of psychoanalysis today. In a series of striking investigations, she thinks through disability and normativity, monotheism and secularization, the need to believe and the desire to know. Calling for the courage to renew and reinvent humanism, she outlines the principles of a stance founded on the importance of respecting human life. Finally, Kristeva discusses French culture and diversity, rethinking universalism and interrogating the potential for Islam and psychoanalysis to meet, and pays homage to de Beauvoir by rephrasing her dictum into the provocative “One is born woman, but I become one.”
Ranging from literature and the visual arts to psychoanalysis, religion, the question of women, and political events, the essays gathered in this volume deal with the experience of time in birth and rebirth, with the time of events and emergencies and, no less, with the existential dimension of time as opposed to what technologies of sensation are programmed to make of it. In her? inimitable and provocative signature ?style, Kristeva graces her readers with brilliant readings of texts, paintings, sculptures, artists, and political events. Passions of Our Time is an excellent book.
Verena Conley, Harvard University
The essays and interviews in Passions of our Time not only thoughtfully extend and develop some of Kristeva's seminal ideas, but also brilliantly address pressing contemporary issues such as changing notions of motherhood, fatherhood, disability, and sexuality, and powerfully demonstrate that psychoanalysis is still relevant today. This volume makes it cleary why Julia Kristeva is one of the most important cultural critics of our time.
Kelly Oliver, author of Reading Kristeva, Unraveling the Doublebind
About the Author:
Julia Kristeva is professor emerita of linguistics at the Université de Paris VII and author of many acclaimed works. Her Columbia University Press books include Hatred and Forgiveness (2012); The Severed Head: Capital Visions (2014); and, with Philippe Sollers, Marriage as a Fine Art (2016).
Lawrence D. Kritzman is Pat and John Rosenwald Research Professor in the Arts and Sciences and professor of French and comparative literature at Dartmouth College. He is the author of The Fabulous Imagination: On Montaigne’s Essays (2012) and editor of the Columbia History of Twentieth-Century French Thought (2006) and the Columbia University Press series European Perspectives.
Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier live and work in Paris, France. They are the translators of The Second Sex, by Simone de Beauvoir.